CAMDEN — A small Camden bungalow on the corner of Thomas and Beech streets went up in flames Sunday night, on schedule and as planned, for both firefighter training and as a pivotal element in the new movie, Island Zero.
The town's Select Board approved the burn, which was to be filmed for the self-financed horror film being produced by Mariah Klapatch with Josh and Tess Gerritsen. Klapatch is a Camden native and longtime friend of the Gerritsens, having grown up with Josh.
Josh Gerritsen is now a professional photographer and director of the Midcoast-based movie, for which his mother, Tess, a best-selling thriller novelist, wrote the screenplay.
The bungalow, which was build around 1900 when Camden's mills were thriving, is owned by Ronald Hawkins. The house and land are assessed by the town at $104,000. Prior to burning the house down the film, Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley said it would be the scene for four training sessions, including live fire scenarios and search and rescue.
"The opportunity to use an actual building to provide realistic training to our employees is rare and we try to capitalize on these opportunities when they come our way," wrote Farley, in a March 18 memo to the board and Town Manager Patricia Finnigan.
Before the fire, any asphalt shingles were to be removed from the roof, reducing the toxicity of the smoke. The contents of the house — furniture, appliances and plumbing — had also been removed.
Neighbors were also informed ahead of the fire, and Klapath said in an earlier story that they had been supportive of the plans to use the house for both firefighter training and the film.
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